It’s unlikely mall developers will get tax incentives

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 2:47am

Developers hoping to redevelop Bellevue Center likely will not get the $12 million in tax incentives they wanted for the project.

Mayor Karl Dean’s top staffers told Foursquare Properties on Friday that the mayor couldn’t support the proposal for tax-increment financing the developer sought for the $180-million project.

“We’re not opposed to doing something,” said Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling, adding that the mayor’s office is open to other ideas. “This was not the right form.”

Metro Council legislation will be deferred at tonight’s meeting so the developer can explore other ideas and create another proposal.

Foursquare bought the property in mid-December with the incentive proposal still on the table. The developer is attempting to have the area designated an economic development zone so it can go through the Metro Industrial Development Board for the incentives.

“We will continue to work with the administration to find a way to make this project all that it can and should be,” said James Weaver, an attorney with Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis who represents Foursquare. “The administration has asked that we explore a couple of different ideas related to site and we will of course do that.”

Typically, tax-increment financing is used on blighted property in urban areas and done through a housing authority. Basically, a developer takes out a loan for a public infrastructure portion of the property, such as a parking garage, and pays that loan back through the higher property taxes. Metro keeps the base property-tax revenue.

Tennessee law was changed several years ago to give industrial development boards the ability to use TIF loans. Foursquare’s plan is the first for Nashville and the mayor’s office wants to first create a policy for using the method, particularly in non-urban parts of the city.

Council could approve a deal without Dean’s blessing, but observers said that likely would not happen. Council members tend to look to the mayor’s office for guidance on economic development matters.

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By: Muzhik on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Bellevue Mall cannot be saved as a shopping venue. The West Nashville Mall on Charlotte has the head start and provides outstanding shopping access and experience.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

There is something radically wrong when people buy things like this mall (and the preds) expecting the taxpayers to make it profitable for them.

By: Tinsoldier on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Just because the tax incentives aren't going to be there for the developers doesn't mean they are going to abandon their plans, folks. Stay tuned.

By: EasyWriter on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Muzhik, they don't intend to save Bellevue Mall. They intend to tear it down and build something new.That being said, I'm not supporting the tax incentives. Bad precedent.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Who cares? The point is that we are seen as an easy "mark".

By: EasyWriter on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The label "easy mark" seems indefensible in connection with a story in which we said no.

By: Time for Truth on 12/31/69 at 6:00

There are many cities, especially small ones, who provided tax incentives in the past for retail stores and projects like this one. Usually, especially in the case of the smaller cities, they end up shooting themselves-and their citizenry-in the foot. For example, giving tax breaks to, say, a WalMart leaves a smaller city unable to pay for the required infrastructure and policing, and mom and pop stores end up closing their doors. The Predators case is different, as would have been the Sounds deal. These are mass-market entertainment venues associated with the city of Nashville, as well as tourist draws. Their merchandise brings in sales tax money throughout the midstate. And they are an entertainment option for residents as well as visitors. An interesting note is that President "W" Bush actually derived a large portion of his personal fortune from tax incentives for the Texas Rangers. Doesn't make it right or wrong, just interesting.

By: espressogeek on 12/31/69 at 6:00

A developer should bring value to the community not expect the community to take on the burden of their presence. We have Nashville West and frankly I don't see a need to have another shopping venue of this size unless it offers something truely different.